C2D2 has just sent out the latest update on the upcoming inaugural Canadian Conference on Dialogue and Deliberation to be held in Ottawa from Oct. 27-30, 2005. In this bulletin, they describe the many ways to participate in the conference, including pre-conference training, exhibits, advertising and of course, the many workshops offered at the conference itself! To learn more about C2D2 or to register (receive a discount if you register by Sept. 15), visit www.c2d2.ca. Got questions? Contact Sandra Zagon, or (613) 565-1500 or Miriam Wyman, or (416) 413-0347. And to read the C2D2 bulletin in full, click on the link below.
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s public involvement web pages (www.epa.gov/publicinvolvement) have recently been expanded to include new materials and links to useful information about tools and techniques in use all over the world. The site also includes a new Feedback section with ready-to-use surveys for activities such as hearings, meetings, listening sessions, FACA groups, community advisory groups, small group discussions and stakeholder negotiations. (Visit www.epa.gov/publicinvolvement/feedback). In addition, the Public Involvement Resources and Training (PIRT) database, previously on EPA’s intranet, is now publicly available. Check it out at www.epa.gov/publicinvolvement/pirtdatabase. Not only can you use the information it contains, you can suggest additional resources, conferences and trainings.
Public Agenda, the New York-based opinion research and citizen engagement organization, has received a grant to support its work in a national effort to boost achievement of community college students. The $480,000 grant, funded by Lumina Foundation for Education, will support Public Agenda’s participation in �Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count,� a multi-year initiative to increase the success of community college students, particularly those who face the greatest obstacles to success. The project will bring together community members, government, local schools and employers, and students themselves to talk seriously and honestly about what kinds of changes will really work to improve student outcomes. For more information on Public Agenda’s work, visit www.publicagenda.org.
The Community Building Institute (www.cbuilding.org) has just inaugurated a monthly e-newsletter. This month’s edition contains stories about land use disputes, management change within the organization, and globalization. To check out these stories in full, click on the link below.
The PBS series NOW is looking for participants in a pilot project that will encourage active discussion and engaged citizenship. The Twin Cities will be one of two sites (the other is San Diego) to host the pilot “Program Clubs,” which will be run on the study circle model. The study circles will be organized in September and October. If you’re interested in participating as a member or a facilitator of a group, please contact the Twin Cities Program Club coordinator, David McCarthy at . To read more about the program, click on the link below.
The Equity Fund of the Maine Community Foundation ( http://mainecf.org/) is seeking grant proposals for projects related to supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) programs in Maine. The mission of the fund is to strengthen GLBT organizations in Maine and promote community-based initiatives that address GLBT issues and needs. Project grants and capacity-building grants are both encouraged. A total of $15,000 is available this year. Applicants must be nonprofit, 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organizations, public schools, public agencies working for the State of Maine, or Indian tribal governments (and their political subdivisions) recognized by the Department of the Interior, or have a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)(3) organization, public school, or public agency. Applications are due September 15, 2005. For information on applying, check the Maine Community Foundation website above.
The program for the Canadian Conference on Dialogue and Deliberation (C2D2) to be held in Ottawa, October 27 � 30, 2005, includes pre-conference training opportunities, four interactive plenaries and a diverse range of break-out sessions, alongside innovative opportunities for conference participants to connect and network with one another. Each plenary is designed as a community session that will use tested, large scale dialogue and deliberation practices. ” They will allow conference participants to experience them, model them and replicate them, ” says Miriam Wyman, Conference Co-Chair.
For information about the conference and to register visit www.c2d2.ca. Or to read more about program highlights, who to contact, the groups involved and fees for the conference, click the link below.
The inaugural United Nations International Conference on Engaging Communities will be held on 14 – 17 August 2005 in Brisbane, Australia (www.engagingcommunities2005.org). There are plans to develop a UN Declaration on Community Engagement at the conference. To assist this development the conference organizers are conducting a brief engagement process prior to, and at, the conference itself. They are seeking input on a UN Declaration or Charter for Community Engagement. Please consider filling out a very brief online questionnaire (three questions) to help in this process. To access the questionnaire, visit http://www.darzinsurveys.com/ds/index.asp?CX=ICEC&SX=IAP2. Please fill out the questionnaire before Wednesday 10 August. And feel free to let others know about this questionnaire. If you do plan on sending it to others, please send a brief e-mail to Allison Hendricks at with the following information:
* Name of group or network (if appropriate) – for example America Speaks
* Number of people you are sending it to
* Country of recepients (if the people you are sending it to are mostly in one country, then just nominate that one. If there are big groupings then just nominate a rough percentage such as 50% Australia, 50% New Zealand).
A draft version of the Declaration will be posted on the conference website on Friday 12 August, so check out the site if you wish to review the draft document prior to the conference. Some conference sessions will also be live audiocast and electronic discussion forums set up – please check the conference website for more details closer to the start of the conference.
Matt Leighninger, senior associate at the Study Circles Resource Center, published an op-ed in the July 13 Christian Science Monitor asking party leaders to take note of the changing relationship between citizens and government on key public issues, such as homeowner protection, budgeting processes, and family-driven schools. “We seem to be moving toward a different kind of system, in which working directly with citizens may be just as important as representing their interests,” says Steve Burkholder, mayor of Lakewood, Colo. Leighninger continues by saying, “�the next generation of national campaign issues may emerge from these new ways of giving people what they want.” To read the article, visit www.csmonitor.com/2005/0713/p09s02-coop
As Congress debates rewriting provisions of the PATRIOT Act this fall, many people want to know what they can do locally to strike a balance between civil liberties and homeland security. The Study Circles Resource Center has put together a discussion tool called Local Voices: Citizen Conversations on Civil Liberties and Secure Communities, developed as part of a project of the League of Women Voters Education Fund. This discussion guide gives everyday people a chance to talk about ways they can keep their community safe while protecting people’s individual rights. Download the guide free of charge at www.studycircles.org/pages/issues/civilliberties.
In a recent New York Times article that riffs off Jon Stewart’s (The Daily Show) stunning appearance on CNN’s “Crossfire” earlier this year (in which he said shows like Crossfire are “hurting America”), Richard Posner tackles the question of whether the media really is destroying America and the prospects for deliberative democracy. “Journalists,” Posner writes, “are reluctant to confess to pandering to their customers’ biases; it challenges their self-image as servants of the general interest, unsullied by commerce. They want to think they inform the public, rather than just satisfying a consumer demand no more elevated or consequential than the demand for cosmetic surgery in Brazil or bullfights in Spain. They believe in ”deliberative democracy” – democracy as the system in which the people determine policy through deliberation on the issues.” Deliberation naturally turns on a public that wishes to be informed and does so. But, writes Posner, “The public’s interest in factual accuracy is less an interest in truth than a delight in the unmasking of the opposition’s errors.” For the full article, visit www.nytimes.com. Thanks to the Deliberative Democracy Consortium for bringing this to our attention!
The recent Second Conference on Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice / DIAC 2005 (May 20 – 22, 2005) brought together software developers, social science researchers, and practioners of online deliberation for three days of presentations and workshops at Stanford University. The purpose of the conference was to stimulate to discussion around the creation of a new society for online deliberation with an international membership, to support cross-disciplinary scholarship, principled design, and informed practice in the use of online environments for group deliberation and democratic participation. To learn more about this important conference, outcomes, and related resources, please visit the info-packed conference blog at www.online-deliberation.net.
Tom Atlee just sent us the story of his recent trip to a groundbreaking conference on Innovation in Community Engagement in Perth, Australia (www.dpi.wa.gov.au/dialogue/comengage/). Because this conference was so innovative and interesting, we’re including Tom’s entire report in our blog, as well as his links to different resources and pictures of the conference. To read Tom’s account, click on the link below.
In his recent work, “Does Deliberative Democracy Work” (Annual Review of Political Science; Volume 8, 2005: pp. 49-71) professor David Ryfe argues that the growing literature on deliberative democratic practice finds that deliberation is a difficult and relatively rare form of communication. Many of the obstacles to deliberative democracy raise questions about key theoretical constructs closely associated with deliberative democratic theory, including equality, legitimacy, autonomy, and reason. The author concludes by suggesting that deliberative practitioners, empirical scholars, and theorists might gain from greater interaction. Access the paper online at Annual Review Journals.
Memphis will be the site of the nation�s first interactive town meeting to gather grassroots community input on how to address improving the nutrition and physical activity of the nation�s children. The Shaping America�s Youth (SAY) 21st Century Town Meeting� will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17 at FedEx Forum in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. SAY is an initiative of the new national health organization, Shaping America�s Health: Association for Weight Management and Obesity Prevention. They will be using the very successful 21st Century Town Meeting format developed by AmericaSpeaks. For more information, visit SAY online at www.shapingamericasyouth.com.